MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday suspended Waris Pathan, a member of AIMIM, after he proclaimed that he would not say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ even if he were about to die. The suspension will be in place till the conclusion of the legislature’s budget session on April 13.
Pathan, a lawyer and first time legislator, made the impromptu announcement when the House was discussing the Governor’s speech, after BJP’s Ram Kadam had referred to Pathan’s colleague Imtiaz Jalil’s remarks and asked whether he would say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
Jalil had taken objection to the government decision to spend hundreds of crores of rupees on a memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji on the city’s coast. “I will never say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ even if my life is at stake,” Pathan said.
His remark led to verbal abuse from members of all parties. BJP’s Ashish Shelar and Shiv Sena’s Gulabrao Patil called Pathan anti-national. “Dogs like him (Pathan) must say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ if he wants to live here. He has insulted not only the national figures but also the lakhs of freedom fighters. He should be suspended immediately,” Patil said. Congress’ Abdul Sattar agreed. “He (Pathan) should be suspended because Muslims in the state will have to face the heat because of his statement,” Sattar said. Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse of BJP said, “Earlier, the anti-national elements used to create trouble outside. Now, they have entered the Vidhan Sabha.”
Khadse proposed Pathan be suspended for the remainder of the session. Legislative Affairs Minister Ranjit Patil moved a motion in this regard. Speaker Haribhau Bagde announced that the motion was unanimously adopted.
Later, Jalil told reporters that his party was not anti-national. “We say ‘Jai Hind’ but we can’t be forced to shout a slogan under pressure from the Sangh. We shouldn’t be branded as anti-national just because we are not giving a specific slogan,” he said.
Insiders said Pathan was attempting to remain in the good books of party boss Asaduddin Owaisi, who had refused to say the slogan.